In 1998, Arizona incorporated statutes (known as Section 25-901 through 25-906) referring to covenant marriage. If you’re contemplating getting married in Arizona, you may be curious about whether covenant marriage is right or necessary for you. It’s important to remember that this does not replace the traditional or non-covenant type of marriage already available in the state of Arizona but it does give an additional option for couples who are getting married.
What is Covenant Marriage In Arizona?
The covenant marriage is different both in the steps required to get married and in the reasons why a divorce or legal separation could be granted by the court. In order to enter into covenant marriage the couple needs to have counseling first from a marriage counselor or a member of the clergy. When applying for a marriage license, both individuals have to show their intent to enter into a covenant marriage by signing a special declaration on the application form.
What’s Required for a Covenant Marriage In Arizona?
The covenant marriage involves a written statement declaring that the wedding and marriage is a covenant between a man and woman who agree to live together as wife and husband for as long as they live. People who are already married in the state of Arizona can also convert their existing marriage to a covenant marriage. In this particular situation, it is unnecessary to get premarital counseling or to apply for a marriage license and go through another marriage ceremony, but the married couple must pay a fee to the clerk of the superior court and present a sworn statement listing the names, the date and the place their marriage ceremony was performed as well as a written statement related to the covenant marriage itself.
The court will only grant a divorce from a covenant marriage for specific reasons. These reasons include:
- The spouse has evidence that the other spouse has committed adultery
- For at least one year before the divorce case is initiated, one’s spouse has been absent from the home where the married couple resides and refuses to return
- The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed in Arizona has committed a serious crime
- The spouses have been living separately for at least two whole years before a divorce case is filed
- The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed has committed domestic violence or has physically or sexually abused a child relative or the other spouse
- The spouses have already been granted legal separation by the court
- The spouses both agree to a divorce
- The spouse against whom the divorce case is filed has an issue abusing drugs or alcohol
In short, a covenant marriage requires that both parties accept going through the process of premarital counseling and that moving forward with a marriage in this way means that they have fewer grounds for divorce. It is important that you understand all of your rights and responsibilities if you are electing to go forward with a covenant marriage in the state of Arizona. Having the insight of an experienced Arizona family lawyer can be critical during this time to answer all of your questions and ensure that you are clear about the expectations and responsibilities going forward.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding What Is Covenant Marriage In Arizona?, or other family law issues, please feel free to contact Barry C. Dickerson at 480.461.5300, log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools, and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.